Seven Courtly Belt Buckles with Semi Precious Stones
Central Java, Indonesia
This collection of buckles comes from central Java, Indonesia. Buckles such as these are associated with the 19th century kratons (courts) of central Java, particularly Surakarta (Solo). They were part of court dress for male courtiers and members of the nobility known as the priyayi.
Six of the seven comprise zircons and red stones (some stones deficient) is silver settings embellished with overlaid strips of suasa (a gold-copper alloy). Some of the buckles feature stylised insects and butterflies – the stylisation being necessary on account of Islamic prohibitions on the potentially idolatrous depiction of animals.
A seventh buckle is in the shape of two entwined serpents or
nagas. It is inlaid with gold to provide scales and is set with faceted red and clear stones in gold mounts.
The Jewelry of Southeast Asia, Thames & Hudson, 2000.
Private collection, France.
Inventory no.: 1191